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Flyers' Laughton scores first in win against Hurricanes

by Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- Craig and Bonnie Laughton got quite the early holiday present.

They were visiting from Oakville, Ontario, and got to see their son, Philadelphia Flyers rookie center Scott Laughton, score his first NHL goal.

Laughton also had an assist for his first multipoint NHL game in the Flyers' 5-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.

Wayne Simmonds and Jakub Voracek had a goal and an assist each, and Sean Couturier and Michael Raffl each had a goal for Philadelphia (11-13-5). Steve Mason made 25 saves, including 11 in the third period. The Flyers won their second straight game and snapped a four-game losing streak against Carolina.

The five goals are tied for the most the Flyers have scored in regulation this season, matching a 5-3 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 22. Their season high is a 6-5 overtime win at the Dallas Stars on Oct. 18.

Eric Staal scored for the Hurricanes, and Anton Khudobin allowed five goals on 23 shots. The Hurricanes (8-18-3) lost their fifth straight game; they've scored one goal in each.

The Flyers were leading 2-1 early in the second when they scored three goals in a 5:11 span.

Voracek started the run when he finished a tic-tac-toe passing play with Claude Giroux and Simmonds for a power-play goal at 4:54.

Laughton took a pass from Brayden Schenn on the move on the right side of the Carolina zone. He cut to the net and shot the puck past Khudobin's blocker, off the left post and in at 7:29.

The goal came in Laughton's 13th game this season and 18th NHL game; he played five games for the Flyers as an 18-year-old in 2012-13.

"Definitely a big relief," Laughton said. "... When you go 17 or 18 games without scoring a goal it weighs on you a little bit. I tried to stick to what I do and I knew it would come eventually."

Laughton's teammates certainly were happy for him.

"Doesn't happen very often you get your first one," Mason said. "I'm still waiting for mine."

Laughton has one goal and three assists since being recalled from Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League on Nov. 18. More than that, he's given the locker room a jolt with his youthful enthusiasm.

"I think he's brought a great deal of energy," Mason said. "He's been working extremely hard. He looks fresh. He's one of the best skaters I've seen out there; he looks like he's flying. ... He looks real fresh out there. He's got the young legs. He realizes he's got an opportunity right now and he's making the most of it. It's nice to see him have a little bit of success."

Simmonds said he was one of the players making sure Laughton stayed positive despite not scoring.

"I just kept trying to tell him to shoot the puck," Simmonds said. "Sometimes you don't get the prettiest one for your first one, but once you get one you get the feeling and it keeps rolling after that. ... Obviously everyone is really excited for him. Him coming around the corner [after he scored] I think he turned beet red. It was really funny."

Laughton has taken over as the second-line center between Schenn and Simmonds. Laughton also has seen time on the second power-play unit and on the penalty kill.

"He brings a lot to the table," Simmonds said. "He plays a 200-foot game. He's strong offensively and defensively. He makes really smart plays. He doesn't try to play outside his boundaries. He's a really smart player."

To stay in the lineup, coach Craig Berube said he'll have to keep seeing more of the same from the 20-year-old.

"When we called him up at the time, I wasn't sure ... I don't think anyone was sure," Berube said. "He was playing well down in the minors [but] it's a different game up here. He's obviously so far proved to us that he belongs here and he's doing a good job. He has to continue to work, continue to learn. His work ethic has to be there every shift, every game."

Raffl capped Philadelphia's second-period when he knocked in the rebound of Giroux's shot off a give-and-go with Voracek at 10:05 to make it 5-1.

The Hurricanes looked poised to get into the game early in the second period when Staal scored. He blew past Luke Schenn on the left side of the Philadelphia zone and scored on a wraparound at 2:06 of the second.

The goal snapped the Hurricanes' 0-for-14 streak on the power play. It also was the 100th power-play goal of Staal's career; he's one of 15 active players with at least that many.

But Riley Nash took a hooking penalty at 4:25 of the second period.

"We needed a kill there," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said. "It was 2-1 then they went on the power play and scored, then got another one quickly. That put it away in essence and we didn't have enough to come back."

The Hurricanes outshot the Flyers 11-4 in the third period but couldn't beat Mason.

"One of those nights when all-around execution and commitment to things that we've been doing well wasn't good enough,” Staal said.

Couturier stuffed the puck inside the left post from below the goal line 53 seconds into the game. That extended his point streak to six games, tying his career best, with three goals and four assists.

Simmonds made it 2-0 when he stepped into a Brayden Schenn lead pass that bounced off the boards and fired a hard shot past Khudobin at 11:27.

Since losing four straight to enter December, the Flyers are 2-0-2 and starting to build some confidence.

"We have had two pretty good games at home here," Mason said, referring to Saturday and the Flyers' 4-1 win against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday. "It's just a matter of continuing now. I know I keep saying it over and over again, but the consistency has to be there. We're starting to put some points together. We had a couple shootout losses but we're getting points out of those games. It's just a matter of continuing that streak now. Guys feel good about themselves and it's nice to see. They just have to make sure not to lose that feeling."

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